In a normal, healthy knee joint, the bottom end of your thigh bone (femur) and the top end of your shin (tibia) are covered in cartilage and glide over each other smoothly when your knee moves. If this cartilage is damaged or worn away from arthritis or injury, moving your knee can be painful and difficult.

If non-surgical methods such as physiotherapy, painkillers and exercise don’t work to improve the pain, you may need to have your knee surgically replaced.

Depending on how bad the damage is to your knee joint, one of our consultant orthopaedic specialists may advise that you have part or all of it replaced. Replacing your entire knee joint is called a total knee replacement and is the more common of the two options.

An artificial knee joint can last up to 20 years, and although you won’t have as much movement as before the operation, you’ll be able to move much more efficiently and largely without pain.

The operation to replace your knee is performed under general anaesthetic and takes around an hour and a half. During the operation, your surgeon will make an incision on the front of your knee, and then will resurface the top end of your shin and the bottom end of your femur with polished cobalt chrome. This new surface is bonded to your bone using acrylic cement.

Your surgeon will then place a high-density polyethylene lining between the two bones so that the joint surfaces move smoothly against each other.

After the new knee joint has been created, your surgeon will close the incision with stitches and cover it with an antiseptic dressing. Your knee will be tightly bound with elasticised bandages in order to reduce swelling to the area as much as possible.